Sweet Spirit "St Mojo"
If you aren’t already a fan of at least one Sabrina Ellis band, you’re doing something wrong. Besides her garage rock wunderband A Giant Dog, she is also the front woman of Sweet Spirit. What started out as a solo project to give her a chance to do some solo expressions quickly turned into a 8 piece rollicking good time (and includes AGD co-founder Andrew Cashen), more interested in Nashville sounds than A Giant Dog are. After opening for Spoon, and being invited to play SXSW on the merit of live shows only (and not even applying to play) music listeners in general took notice. St. Mojo (Nine Mile Records), the follow up to their debut, is an exciting batch of tunes everywhere from gentle to bombastic. Check out the song Joan Jett should cover next “The Power”
White Reaper "World’s Best American Band"
It’s not much of a thing for a band like Grand Funk Railroad to say “we’re an American band.” Well of course you are GFR! So is, you know, like a million other bands. It’s no great feat to be an American band. However, the title of World’s Best American Band? Now THAT is some kind of proclamation, and White Reaper is the one proclaiming it! It’s not just their credo either, as their newest album is titled World’s Best American Band (Polyvinyl). Why do they say it? “Because we are the best,” says vocalist/guitarist Tony Esposito. “Just like Muhammad Ali was the greatest, you gotta say it out loud for people to believe it.” All you’re gonna have to do is check out their latest to believe it. The garage rockers have really turned up the rock this time around. Revved up Cheap Trick pop-rock candy coating, Van Halen-esque stadium sized fun, even a bit of a White Stripes vibe. So yeah, they are really placing themselves among some American legends. Check out the beyond catchy “Judy French.”
Future Islands "The Far Field"
“Oh buddy, come on! Il’ll take all of that you got” David Letterman shouted, uncharacteristically genuinely enjoying something, after Future Islands‘ famed performance of “Seasons (Waiting On You) on the Letterman show in early 2014. Well, Dave, there’s more for you to have! The Far Field, the latest from Samuel T. Herring and the gang, finds everything as it should be. Bouncy, new wave vibes, dreamy in a Beach House way, and all while Samuel sings his heart out. They have a unique ability of reminding you of everything without actually sounding like anything (that, and having Debbie Harry around for a guest vocal turn). There are very few people in music using their instrument as emotionally as Herring is doing with his vocals that pairs the best aspects of Elton John and Tom Waits, all the while never being anything less that breathtaking–help in that department from wonder-producer John Congleton (Brain Wilson, Chelsea Wolfe, Angel Olsen, countless others). Look, I know you want to hear it. All the tracks are highlights. But feel free to dig in with the synth-heavy single “Cave.”
Anders Parker "The Man Who Fell From Earth"
So besides the internet removing the lines between musicians and fans with things like kickstarter and pledgemusic, it also removes the line between musician and person who has to write things about musician. So while I’m trying to come up with the perfect way to describe Anders Parker’s 17th album The Man Who Fell From Earth he goes and does it perfectly. “The album is me singing and playing acoustic guitar accompanied by a string trio and a pedal steel.The songs…. there’s dirt in there, a dog, a baby, wind, mountains, divorce, stars, travel, regret, drunkenness, snow, dead trees, luck, agony, longing, despair, hope, helplessness, interstellar transmutation, naked women, rocks, books, breakdowns, and love.” So besides thanking Anders for the gorgeous album, I also have to thank him for the writeup time he saved me! Check out the pastoral beauty of “I Don’t Do That Anymore.”